Why Stretch?

  • Muscles do one thing, and one thing only: contract. That is how they work. All muscles cross over at least one joint, (sometimes two) and the action of contracting a muscle causes that joint to move. Here's a good example: Your quadriceps (thigh) muscle originates from the front of your hip (the anterior superior iliac spine, for the technically curious). It crosses over your knee joint, and inserts (as a tendon, since tendons are how muscles attach to bone), to your shin bone (tibia). The action of contracting your quadriceps muscle moves your lower leg forward.
  • Muscles are the motors of your body. All action is due to their contraction. They can do more work if they have greater contractile strength. Contractile strength is greater when the muscles are stretched out. In other words, the longer the muscle, the more work it can do when acting on a joint.
  • Stretching allows greater extension of a joint when moving. For example, if you are a runner, when you stretch out prior to running, your stride will be longer. If the stride remains the same length, then the involved muscles will be doing less work.
  • Stretching helps prevent injuries. The more flexible a person is, the less the likelihood of a torn or sprained muscle. Over time, proper stretching strengthens both ligaments and tendons. Ligaments attach bone to bone, tendons attach muscles to bone.
  • Stretching promotes faster recovery, since stretching the muscles helps to move toxins and waste products of muscular exertion out of the muscles.
  • Stretching relaxes your body. Relaxing your body allows you to experience less intense negative emotional states.
  • Muscles that are tight waste energy. Stretching allows you to become aware of areas in your body that are held with undue tension.
  • Stretching feels GOOD!!! Anyone, at any age, can stretch. It does not matter where your flexibility level is when you begin, as long as you work at it you will improve.